a long way gone Essay

Submitted By lindsayhogan
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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is a memoir written by Ishmael Beah. Published in 2007, this book provides a firsthand account of the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone and the ongoing plight of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide.[1] Beah was forced to run away from attacking rebels in Sierra Leone at the young age of 12; he was then forever separated from his direct family. He wandered his war-filled country and was then forced to join an army unit, which brainwashed him into believing in only large guns, blood, and drugs. By thirteen, he had experienced incidents that others may not have to deal with throughout their entire lives. At the age of 16, however, UNICEF removed him from the unit and gave him a chance to be forgiven and to be loved once more. With the help of some of the staff he was able to forgive himself for everything he had done and to finally move on. He was then given an opportunity to teach others about the hell he was forced to endure. He traveled the United States teaching people about the devastating and unforgettable things that he was forced to encounter and the things that millions of kids all over the world still have to encounter todayIshmael Beah: The book's protagonist. Ishmael was a child soldier for the Sierra Leone Armed Forces. His parents, brothers, grandmother, and aunt were killed by the Revolutionary United Front, or RUF. After being rescued by UNICEF and rehabilitated, he went to live with his Uncle Tommy. While there, he was recruited to travel to the United States to speak at a United Nations event about child soldiers. Returning to Freetown after his speaking event, he eventually made his way back to the United States. After a time, he was able to forgive himself and love once again.
Junior Beah: Ishmael's older brother by one year.
Alhaji: One of Ishmael’s closest friends. Alhaji was part of the group of boys from Mattru Jong that Ishmael met in the wilderness. Alhaji and Ishmael formed a close bond during their years as soldiers, and were part of the same squad. Alhaji was nicknamed "Rambo" for his combat skills that were heavily influenced by the film. Alhaji and Ishmael were eventually taken by UNICEF and put into a rehabilitation shelter in Freetown. He apparently moved from foster home to foster home following the events of the book.
Kanei, Musa, Saidu, Jumah, and Moriba: Ishmael’s friends from his home village whom he meets in the wilderness after being separated from his initial group. Saidu is the first of the group to die; he dies suddenly two nights after he and the other boys eat a crow that fell from the sky. Kanei is the oldest of the group by 3 years, although Alhaji is confused as being older because he is taller. He becomes junior sergeant, and later is chosen to stay behind because he is older while Alhaji and Ishmael are sent to rehabilitation. It is unknown what happens to him. Musa is the group's storyteller; he is killed in the first battle that Ishmael and his squad fight in. Jumah and Moriba also become part of the army. Jumah is assigned to another squad in a different village, and is last seen preparing for another village raid. Moriba is killed in a fight some time during Ishmael's time as a soldier, however, his death is not thought much about.
Talloi, Gibrilla, Kaloko, and Khalilou: Ishmael's initial travelling companions. Talloi is Junior's friend and follows them to…